As I discussed in the intro article to weight management as part of our broader small victories category, small and seemingly "insignificant" amounts of calories can add up. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE sauces. They are my weakness. Unfortunately, while delicious, sauces tend to come with very dense caloric contents. I used to make many homemade sauces, and often my creations would end up even HIGHER in calories than store bought. I've started experimenting on making lower calorie sauces, trying hard not to compromise too much taste. Here is the ranch dressing recipe I've settled on, for now. As a note it has changed 4 times since I originally wrote this; so go ahead, have fin and experiment. Adjust to your taste and preference.
For starters, a table spoon of my "go to" ranch dressing is about 70 calories. The issue I have with the "light", "lower calorie" or "low fat" options is they tend to only be slightly reduced, the brand I buy drops from 70 calories to 40 calories. My second issue is sacrificing consistency. The "light" version is far too runny, largely defeating the purpose of a dip.
I've been playing around with making my own "ranch style" dip using no fat Greek yogurt. The immediate problem I found was that Greek yogurt is too thick and keeps its form too well, making it harder to "dip". I've found by adding whipping cream and vinegar, it improves the taste and gives it the right consistency. The best part is I've found a dip where I am reasonably satisfied with the taste and consistency, and it comes in at 6.9 calories per tablespoon.
This is my recipe:
- 750g Greek Yogurt (works out to be basically 1L by volume, exaclty)
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp dill
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (some prefer 1/2 of garlic power and 1/2 tsp of onion power)
- 1/4 tsp MSG (I'm of the position, as per the scientific consensus, that MSG is perfectly safe and can reduce sodium intake. I also prefer the taste, it is more "savoury" or "umami". Many readers may prefer to substitute for standard table salt)
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp whipping cream (I find 2 tsp whipping cream gives the best consistency. If you like thicker dips, start with 1 tsp, if you like thinner try adding 3 tsp and add 1 at a time to desired consistency)
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon sucralose, OR 1/2 teaspoon stevia or monk fruit (not in photo)
As I discuss here the safety of sucralose is incredibly high, and there is some bad information regarding it. If you prefer to use other options, for monk fruit or stevia, make sure to quadruple the stevia intake.
- Empty the Greek yogurt into a large mixing bowl, create a "divet" in the center
- Mix the dry powders in a bowl together thoroughly, add into divet in the Greek yogurt
- Slowly and thoroughly stir in the drive ingredients. Make sure to get the edges and bottom of the bowl, so that the herbs and spices are evenly distributed throughout the entire dip
- Add in 2 tsp of white vinegar
- Add in 2 tsp of whipping cream
- Mix thoroughly, making sure the dip is smooth and creamy and the spices are consistent
- Regrigerate at AT LEAST AN HOUR if not overnight. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT NOT TO THINK THE DIP IS MISSING SOMETHING ON A FIRST TASTE. Many of these flavours, especially the garlic, will intensify as time goes on. If you think it needs an extra kick, wait. Adding more now can ruin the dip.
This is a LOT of dip. The equivalent in my favourite brand of commercial ranch comes in at a whopping 4662 calories for 1L. This 1L of ranch style dip clocks in at 458 calories by comparison.
What I make this dip, I plan some meals around it for the next several days and share it with others. If you have a family, it will be easier to consume. Otherwise I recommend reducing the amount you make.
Dip in Action
Pizza "Pro tip". I really don't like greasy pizza, or deep dish pizza, prefering either a Neapolitan style or NY style aren't great/ While there are several Neapolitan style places that are good to eat in restaurant, ordering to go yiels a very soggy crust and kills the experience.
My "go to" pizza place has this issue. What I've learned to do rather try to eay my pizza in restaurant is I pick it up when it's convenient the day I want the pizza, with no intention of eating it immediately. I throw it in the fridge. Then, when I want to eat it, I preheat my oven to a 500 F BAKE, not broil. This is a very important distinction.
I throw the pizza in the oven for a couple minutes, which crisps up the softer Neapolitan style crust quite nicely, in many ways simulating a NEW style crust. The end result is a foldable crust that "cracks" in the middle, but not all the way down with a soft crust underneath the crustier exterior.